We begin with a manikin whose hair has been shampooed, conditioned with a
rinse-through moisturizing formula, and had a leave-in protective conditioner applied.
To simulate naturally curly hair, the hair was wrapped on rollers without styling products,
was partially dried under a hooded dryer, and allowed to air dry overnight to assure that
it was completely dry.
It is important to remember to always use flat irons on completely dry hair as
hair that is even slightly damp can be severely damaged by heated appliances.
The biggest difference to note between our demonstration and the traits of
naturally curly hair is that the application of water to our manikin at this point would
result in the collapse of the curls. By that same token, with naturally curly hair you
would find that applying water to the finished straight style would result in the hair returning to its curly state.
For comparison, we are only straightening half the manikin's hair initially. The hair
is brushed out and divided at the center parting. We sectioned the hair on one side into
panels just narrower than the length of the heating plates on our flat iron.
We then begin styling by separating a slice of hair no thicker than half the width of
the heating plates on our flat iron. Starting with the bottom segment of the first
section, we applied a small amount of hairspray and allowed it to dry before pressing it between the plates of the flat iron.
Before using any flat iron tool on your hair, always test the temperature first. Take a
piece of tissue paper and moisten it (making it damp, not wet). Press the tissue paper
between the heating plates of the iron and hold for a few seconds. A small amount of steam
would be normal, but if there is any smoking, scorching or discoloration of the paper, then the
iron is too hot and the temperature should be adjusted down to prevent burning your hair.
We worked our way through the section of hair from the bottom upward
straightening each segment and allowing it to cool. Once cooled, a comb was passed
through the segment to break the hair apart and give it a smoother finish.
We then moved to the next section and continued straightening as was previously
done, working from bottom to top, and around to the middle of the back of the head.
You will usually need to make extra passes through the hair where the sections meet
so that you can close any "gaps" that are a result of the initial straightening.
At this point, the change is readily apparent. The flat iron has completely
smoothed out the curls and has left the hair sleek and silky looking.
After showing the comparison at the halfway mark, we continued flattening the
curls on the opposite side of the manikin's head. We then recheck the straightened
locks and retouched them where necessary. In our final photo, you can clearly see the
smooth finish given by the flat iron.
Note: This process is especially useful when you desire to perform an up-do style on
curly hair. The hair will respond well to further styling and will have sufficient texture and
substance to make up-styling much easier to accomplish.